Digging deeper

Published 2:44 pm Thursday, May 24, 2018

There have been developments with two major pipelines in the Heart of Virginia over the past few weeks.

The first, a gasoline leak that took place May 3 at the Colonial Pipeline Mitchell Junction tank farm in Columbia, near Cumberland County; the second, a ruling from the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported failing to set clear limits on threatened or endangered species for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), potentially violating a requirement by the Endangered Species Act. The ruling could potentially place a halt on the construction of the ACP.

There is a 53,783-horsepower gas fired compressor station and pipeline construction that is currently underway in Buckingham County.

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The natural gas industry’s impact is enormous, both in the Heart of Virginia and in the United States. Steve Baker, spokesman for Colonial Pipeline, estimates that Colonial Pipeline ships approximately 2.5 billion gallons to Virginia each year.

These recent developments, then, could also have an impact in the area.

Which is why The Herald appreciates the responses received from Baker, who offered concise and timely answers; Bill Wellman, a Farmville resident with experience in natural gas operation who offered insight and like Baker, put complex ideas as simply as possible; Lou Zeller with Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, who offered insight on the recent ruling regarding the ACP and Jen Kostyniuk with Dominion Energy, who offered Dominion’s stance on the ruling and ACP’s actions going forward.

Residents living near the Mitchell Junction tank farm and the compressor station and pipeline have every right to question or express concern or commendation for the two pipelines that operate in the Heart of Virginia. For their sakes, we appreciate every contact who helped The Herald to dig deeper and continue to explore these issues and their potential impact on the communities they affect.